Fredericks & Freiser is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Cristina de Miguel for the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the Gallery. The Spanish-born artist is part of a generation of figurative neo-expressionists who harness both the immediate viscerality and the emotive unpredictability of the gesture to query the formal status of painting today.
De Miguel’s energetic and colorful large-scale compositions engage painterly tensions to experiment with materiality and academic conventions. Imagined scenes that take color and form as the artist paints, de Miguel’s work is devoted to the clash of opposites. There is no point perspective to organize space and figures, but errant linear marks hint at certain dimensionalities. Rendered faces exist alongside deconstructed faces and fragmented bodies are depicted in various states of aggressive movement. At once humorous and dark, the artist’s scenes are governed by a mysterious logic.
For de Miguel, the most thrilling part of her process is accepting changes as they come to her intuitively. The artist schematizes her compositions ahead of approaching the canvas so that she can jump into the paintings with confidence. Assured of the composition, the artist focuses her energy into her emotive and painterly gesticulations. Her paintings are not precious, and instead function as records of fleeting moments. Drips are in the artist’s control at their inception, but they elude her as they give way to gravity. Phantoms of objects zip behind figures whizzing by. The viewer must look immediately as there is an overwhelming anxiety that the figures will pass by or tumble away—their very materiality will pull them out of the frame.
The artist uses oil sticks atop acrylic paints that are variously thinned out to achieve a range of atmospheric effects. This reveals the artist’s interest in the formal contrast between thick and thin lines, opacity and transparency, and velocity and stasis. Sometimes, the artist uses her hands and feet to motivate the paint. Where one would run their hand through their hair, de Miguel runs her own fingers through her figure’s hair, which is emphatically and unabashedly paint. The result of the artist’s physical intervention is thickly piled painterly zeniths and nadirs that achieve the status of hair. In this way, the paint on de Miguel’s canvases become indexes of the artist’s own choreographies. The artist paints on her own terms, pushing her formal training to entropic measures. De Miguel insists on paint as at once material and subject.